March 12, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Tara John, Sana Noor Haq, Adrienne Vogt, Joe Ruiz and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 12:06 a.m. ET, March 13, 2022
48 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:34 p.m. ET, March 12, 2022

Mariupol is in a "disaster phase now," Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator says

An emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders told CNN that the humanitarian situation in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol is deteriorating by the day.

"We have staff, MSF [Medecins Sans Frontières] staff, who are currently in Mariupol who we've been able to keep contact with, although that contact is getting harder and harder to keep every day. They confirmed to us there's been no access to clean drinking water for over a week now," Alex Wade told CNN's Jim Acosta.

"They're using snow and rain water, they're breaking into heating systems to access the water in heating systems, but for many, water has already run out and so has the food for many people. The only people left with food are those who have stocks that they're rationing," he said from Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

"I think we can say we're in the disaster phase now," he added.

Staff on the ground in Mariupol have told Wade that people are dying from lack of access to medicine, He said.

"The next phase we will see people who potentially could die from dehydration and hunger or ... fleeing from the city trying to find food and water and dying from the violence outside the city," he said.

Wade said there's a "sense of panic" in the city right now.

"We had communication with a staff member today who was telling us that they've [been] ... taking the dead bodies of their neighbors and burying them in their own yards, just so that their own neighbors will have a burial and not remain dead on the streets," he said.

While evacuation corridors were slated to take place for the city Saturday, the lack of available communication hampers safety efforts, he said.

"When there are discussions around humanitarian corridors or safe passage out of the city, many people are uninformed and they don't know about it because there's no communication inside the city. There's no phone network. There's no internet," he said.

2:41 p.m. ET, March 12, 2022

Significant destruction seen in Makariv, a Ukrainian village 30 miles west of Kyiv

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Makariv, Ukraine
Makariv, Ukraine (From Telegram)

A large swath of Makariv, a village 30 miles west of Kyiv, has sustained significant damage from apparent Russian airstrikes.

CNN geolocated and verified the authenticity of photos posted to social media on Saturday, which show major damage to apartment complexes, schools and a medical facility.

A stark image from Makariv shows a large hole in the northern wall of an apartment building. Many of the buildings in the photos have sustained damage on their northern facades, evidence that points to military strikes that hit them being Russian.

Several hundred feet east of that apartment building, a kindergarten also sustained significant damage.

Smoke can be observed still billowing up from the building, the roof has completely caved in and the windows have all been blown out. 

The Russian Ministry of Defence has repeatedly claimed they are not targeting civilians.

At another apartment building just west of the school, another photo shows the roof and a number of upper floor residences destroyed.

Just south of the school, the Adonis-Makariv Medical and Diagnostic Center is seen on fire. The street in front of it is littered with debris and the windows have been blown out of the center.

A photo taken on the street in front of the center showed that the debris in front of it is all that remains of the north-facing front facade of the building.

Immediately west of the school and medical center, near the center of Makariv, a massive crater was observed in the road. The medical center can be seen in the background on fire. Next to that crater, another photo shows a residential building with a grocery store on the ground floor has been hit.

In the center of town, a cultural center that also houses government and police offices has been hit by a strike. A portion of the building was destroyed and a structure on the roof appeared to have been clipped by some sort of munition.

"Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes" was written on a large sign in the front of the building.

South of central Makariv, a preschool also sustained significant damage. The windows have been blown out and portions of the roof appear to be damaged.

1:54 p.m. ET, March 12, 2022

Moscow Stock Exchange will not resume trading next week, Russian Central Bank says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

A man walks past the Moscow's stock market building in downtown Moscow on February 28.
A man walks past the Moscow's stock market building in downtown Moscow on February 28. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia’s Central Bank said Saturday it will not resume trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange in the equity market during the week of March 14.

The Bank of Russia also said via its website that the foreign currency market will reopen at 10 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) on Monday and commodity trading will also resume then. 

As for stock market operations during the week of March 21, the central bank indicated that it will make an announcement at a later date.

The exchange has been closed since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as the United States, European Union and other Western allies imposed sanctions and the Russian ruble plunged to record lows against the US dollar.

1:17 p.m. ET, March 12, 2022

US vice president warns that Russia's invasion of Ukraine threatens democracy across Europe

From CNN's Sam Fossum

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a news conference in Bucharest, Romania on March 11.
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a news conference in Bucharest, Romania on March 11. (Andrei Pungovschi/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

US Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted the unity between the US and its NATO and European allies and warned that Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine poses a threat to all democracies.

"Russia's invasion threatens not just Ukraine's democracy; it threatens democracy and security across Europe," Harris said at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting on Saturday in Washington, DC.

"The ocean that separates us will not leave us untouched by this aggression," she said.

Harris, speaking about her recent trip to Poland and Romania, said she emphasized that the "greatest strength" of the alliance is its unity.

"The United States stands firmly with the Ukrainian people in defense of the NATO alliance," Harris said to applause from the crowd.

Harris also told the attendees about meeting with a Moroccan student who had fled Ukraine and the plight of millions of refugees fleeing the Russian onslaught.

1:10 p.m. ET, March 12, 2022

Ukraine's foreign minister doubtful about prospects for negotiated settlement with Russia

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba holds a press conference on March 10 in Antalya, Turkey.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba holds a press conference on March 10 in Antalya, Turkey. (Ozan Güzelce/ dia images/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is holding out little hope for a negotiated settlement to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"There is little space for diplomacy in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's mind," he told a US policy forum. "We have to keep the channel of diplomacy open," while being aware of "the attempts of Russia to publicly manipulate this track."

"We are talking, but Russia still puts forward demands which are unacceptable for us. We will not make any compromises on the existential issues for Ukraine," he said.

Kuleba's pessimistic outlook coincided with a call among Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier Saturday. 

A French official told CNN that Putin seemed still to be "determined to achieve his objectives in Ukraine" but the fact that he continues to speak to the French and German leaders suggests that "he does not exclude the possibility of a diplomatic solution altogether."

Kuleba said he believed the removal of Putin as Russian president would be enough to stop the conflict.

He was grim about the consequences of the war, saying it will make Ukrainians hate Russia. "We will not forgive them for generations," he said.

He also said Belarus' leader Alexander Lukashenko was under enormous pressure from Moscow to commit forces to the invasion.

12:17 p.m. ET, March 12, 2022

It's just after 7 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Police officers and residents stand next to a shell crater and damaged home in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 12.
Police officers and residents stand next to a shell crater and damaged home in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 12. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Tensions remain high as night falls in the capital of Ukraine more than two weeks after Russia invaded the country.

These are the latest updates you should know now:

Russian forces inch closer to Kyiv: CNN teams in Kyiv reported hearing explosions in the early hours of Saturday, as the capital comes under pressure. The bulk of Russian ground forces are about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from Kyiv's center, according to British defense officials. Russian strikes continue to hit civilian structures: A landmark hotel in the northern city of Chernihiv was reduced to rubble overnight as well as the local electricity network.

Zelensky says "front line" is everywhere: While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country is more united than ever as it faces the Russian invasion, he said "a few small towns just don’t exist anymore. ... They are just gone." He added that negotiations to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “must begin with a ceasefire."

He also called for the immediate release of Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the city of Melitopol who was arrested by armed men on Friday.

Ceasefire urged: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to call an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine during a 75-minute call on Saturday. The calls for a ceasefire come as the UN reports at least 1,500 civilians have suffered casualties since the start of the war on Feb. 24.

Ukrainians say Russians demand control of nuclear plant: Russian officials have arrived to Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant, demanding to take control of the facility, according to a statement from Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-operated nuclear energy company.

Attacks on key cities: CNN journalists in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro felt at least two explosions and saw what looked like the remnants of anti-aircraft fire early Saturday. The cities of Kharkhiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv and Sumy are also under a sustained Russian onslaught. This comes as Russian forces expanded their offensive to the west of Ukraine for the first time on Friday, with strikes targeting military airfields, including one in Vasylkiv, south of Kyiv, on Saturday. To the east, there's growing evidence that the town of Volnovakha has fallen to Russian forces and their allies in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic. The southern city of Kherson appears to have been captured, according to US defense intelligence.

4:02 p.m. ET, March 12, 2022

Putin still "determined" to achieve his objective in Ukraine, says French presidency source

From CNN's Melissa Bell in Paris

Russian President Vladimir Putin's state of mind remains "determined," according to an Elysee source speaking after a Saturday afternoon phone call among French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Putin.

The source said that since the three leaders last spoke on Thursday, Putin seemed to still be "determined to achieve his objectives in Ukraine," but that the fact that he continues to speak to the French and German leaders suggests that "he does not exclude the possibility of a diplomatic solution altogether.”

A source close to Macron and familiar with the conversation told CNN's Jim Acosta that Macron was disappointed with Putin's "insincerity" during the call, but that the French president remains committed to diplomatic solutions to end the conflict, including coordinated sanctions, banning Russia from activity within the international community, and a “continued firm and denuding dialogue.” 

Earlier Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Macron to press Putin for a ceasefire and to raise the issue of the detention of the mayor of Melitopol. The source said Macron and Scholz had done so.

"We pleaded for an immediate ceasefire," the source said, "and for the start of negotiations on three points: the questions relative to security, those that relate to Ukrainian sovereignty and third, those issues raised by both Ukraine and Russia recently."

Further sanctions are being planned by both the G7 and the European Union, the source said. The fresh European sanctions will be discussed next week in Brussels and will be aimed at sanctioning recent actions by Russian troops in Ukraine, the siege of Mariupol and the advance of Russian troops along the Dniepr River.

Asked about the possibility of European sanctions on Russian energy exports, the source repeated what Macron had said at the leader's summit in Versailles on Friday that nothing was "taboo," with no option off the table.

CNN's Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

11:51 a.m. ET, March 12, 2022

UN says there have been more than 1,500 civilian casualties — including 42 children killed — in Ukraine so far

From CNN's Mia Alberti

The United Nations has recorded 1,581 civilian casualties — 579 who were killed and 1,002 injured — since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Among the dead are 42 children, with 54 children among the injured, according to the UN's latest report on civilian casualties. The largest number of victims was recorded in areas still under Ukrainian government control. 

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes," according to the UN report.

The organization's human rights office believes the actual number of casualties is "considerably higher especially in Government-controlled territory and especially in recent days" after reports of intense hostilities in regions such as Kharkiv, Mariupol and Donetsk, "where there are allegations of hundreds of civilian casualties."

11:30 a.m. ET, March 12, 2022

Russia sends warning to the US about transferring weapons to Ukraine, according to state media

From CNN’s Maija Ehlinger

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned the United States about the potential consequences of transferring weapons to Ukraine, saying convoys with foreign weapons would be "legitimate targets." 

Ryabkov made these comments on Saturday on the state-run Channel One, according to Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency. 

"We warned the United States that pumping Ukraine with weapons from a number of countries orchestrated by them is not just a dangerous move, but these are actions that turn the corresponding convoys into legitimate targets," he added. 

Read more about the US and its NATO allies' efforts to assist Ukraine: